There will be both a new majority and minority leader in the Rockland County Legislature for 2013.
At the legislature’s reorganization meeting Thursday night, the majority and minority both voted on their respective leadership. For the majority, Legislator Jay Hood (D-Haverstraw) was unanimously voted in as leader, and the minority unanimously voted for Legislator Christopher Carey (R-Bardonia) as 2013 leader.
Both new leaders spoke about looking to improve the county’s standing over the upcoming year and the importance in working together to do just that.
“These issues are not about Democrats or Republicans,” Carey said. “The issues this county faces are financial, and it’s going to take hard decisions. I pledge that I will thoroughly look at these issues more closely with the folks up here and hopefully 2013 is going to be a very critical year, so that we position ourselves in 2014 to start to see daylight.”
Hood echoed those sentiments, noting that the two parties have come together in the past, so they should be able to again in the future.
“I also want to thank my fellow Dems for their confidence in me, voting me in tonight, and it’s been a pleasure working with all of you the last six years,” Hood said. “And to my Republican friends — you know you all love me — my door is always open, I think you know that. We do disagree on some things, but you know that I am always available, and from time to time we have really come together.”
Toney Earl (D-Spring Valley) was re-appointed as deputy majority leader.
Carey, who just finished his first year as a legislator, is taking over as minority leader for Legislator Frank Sparaco (R-Valley Cottage), who announced last year he wouldn’t seek re-election to the position. Sparaco held the title for the past two years, and was picked by Carey to be the deputy minority leader for 2013.
Carey was nominated for the position by Legislator Ed Day, who said Carey already made his mark on the legislature in just his first year there.
“He has been an ally to other legislators regardless of party or political persuasion. As part of a collaborative body, all of us are keenly aware that effectively representing the people hinges on that one trait,” Day said. “We also recognize that that is the central part of being a true leader. Those who have seen and heard Chris over the past year understand just how quickly he has come into his own as a legislator or a representative for incisive questioning, keen analysis of the issues, an unselfish approach to representation, and most importantly, a passion for the people of Rockland.”
Legislator John Murphy seconded the nomination, saying Carey will be “one of the greats” going forward.
“He has everything it takes to rise to the very top,” Murphy said.
Hood takes over as majority leader for Legislator Michael Grant, who held the title for the last seven years. Grant nominated Hood at Thursday’s meeting, referencing Hood’s work as chair of the Public Safety Committee.
“He’s really come into his own in the Public Safety Committee for a whole variety of reasons, but among them is he works bipartisanly,” Grant said. “He’s been able to cross the aisle and work with a number of legislators.”
Ilan Schoenberger seconded the nomination, saying Hood is unassuming and non-pretentious while praising him for his honesty and decency.
Also at Thursday’s meeting, Laurence O. Toole was unanimously re-elected as clerk of the legislature. He re-appointed Mary Widmer as deputy clerk.